But, how much money should you spend on social media marketing?
The Business Development Bank of Canada states that the standard for B2Bs to spend on marketing should be 2-5% of their revenue and B2Cs should spend between 5-10% on their marketing. The same research found that Canadian small businesses spend an average of $30,000 a year on their marketing. Mid-sized businesses spend an average of $60,000, and big businesses spend more than $100,000 annually.
According to this CMO Survey, over the next five years the percentage of what you should spend on social media marketing out of your entire marketing budget depends on whether your business is a B2B or a B2C, and if your business sells products, or if it provides services.
Here are the survey results for each type of business for what percent of your marketing budget to spend on social media:
- B2B Product: 16.6%
- B2B Services: 20.5%
- B2C Product: 20.9%
- B2C Services: 24.7%
Hopefully these averages will help you determine a better sense of what your business’ social media marketing budget is, and help you get a clearer sense of what goals and resources your business has available to it.
Social media marketing for a business can be managed in a myriad of ways. You can hire someone to do it for you in house or do it yourself if you lack the financial means to hire. Or, on the other side of the spectrum—you can outsource your social media marketing.
If you are not looking to outsource and are interested in growing your expertise in how to market on social media for your business, or want to better train one of your staff—we strongly encourage you to check out our courses! Empty Desk Solutions has to offer!
Empty Desk Solutions is all about empowering small businesses and businesses with DIY-ers through sharing our expertise and being transparent. The courses we offer teach the strategies and procedures we ourselves use step by step! We also teach you how to use the best, most cost effective social media marketing softwares and platforms so that you are getting the most out of them. Additionally our courses provide tips, tricks, tools, and resources we have spent years figuring out, creating, and cultivating.
Click here to check our courses out!
The rest of this article focuses on the options and costs available for outsourcing social media marketing.
Here are five common reasons business owners choose to outsource their social media marketing:
- They don’t have the time or expertise.
- They don’t have the technology.
- They want to lower their marketing costs.
- They’re on a rapid growth trajectory.
- They’ve just expanded their business geographically, or so that it has grown to operate in another customer channel.
There are two manners in which your business can outsource its social media marketing: by hiring freelancers, or by hiring a social media marketing agency.
Before we analyze both options, let’s discuss the costs.
In general, social media management freelancers charge around $200/month – $1,000/month. However, this estimate does not necessarily include software freelancers will need your business to have in order to schedule and monitor social media posts. It also does not definitively include the cost of paid advertising, and the software your business will need to have in order to get analytic reports for how your business is performing on social media platforms. The additional costs of these crucial softwares can add on another couple $1,000 to this price range.
Comparatively, social media management agencies can charge from $500/month – $10,000/month. This estimate for the cost of social media marketing agencies does generally include the cost of scheduling, monitoring and analytic reporting software, as these services are typically provided by the agencies. Additional charges that these figures may not include however, could be the cost of paid advertisements for various online platforms.
Due to the wide variance for what is included and not in these estimations, as well as the wide range included in these estimations themselves make doing a generalized cost comparison of freelancers and social media marketing agencies of little help.
Instead, we suggest taking a different approach by considering what both options do and do not provide. Then, from that concluding which option is better suited for the needs of your business.
To take on this approach we are going to now explore a few of the pros and cons for both hiring freelancers and of hiring social media marketing agencies. Hopefully this will help you arrive at the best possible solution for the needs of your own business.
Option 1: Social Media Marketing Freelancer
Businesses can hire freelancers for universally anything—whether that be writing, administrative assistance, digital and/or print designs, data entry, and for social media marketing management.
Great news is—depending on your objectives and the amount you’re willing to pay to achieve them—there is typically a freelancer that will work for you.
Meeting Specific Needs
Freelancers are often experts at what they do. They often possess a specific skill set that you and/or your full-time employees may lack. Hiring a freelancer allows you to avoid having to pay them benefits or having to keep them hired as a salaried employee. Moreover, you can hire a freelancer for their unique skills on an as needed basis.
Freelancers are a great option for when the amount of work you need fluctuates. They can be hired per project or for a limited time. If you no longer need their services you’re not obliged to keep them and you can also hire them back when that changes again.
Freelancers for social media marketing typically have fewer overhead expenses compared to agencies. This is usually why they normally charge less than social media marketing agencies do.
Finding a reliable freelancer that is available whenever you need them can be difficult. Freelancers are often juggling multiple projects and multiple clients at once and may not be able to help you when you need them. Additionally, some freelancers can disappear on you without any way for you to contact them. This can be especially detrimental if you were relying on them to get back to you within a certain timeframe.
It is extremely difficult to orient someone new who is coming on remotely. Even if the freelancer is able to come in a few times a month, or once a week it can still be difficult to get them familiarized with your branding, policies and procedures. Helping them gain this understanding can be time consuming and, if the freelancer is unable to get it quite right, right away, repetitive.
It can take time and planning in order to have the right tools and strategies in place for you and your team to effectively bond, collaborate, and communicate with a freelancer. Also, if there are multiple freelancers working with you, you or one of your employees will need to act as their project manager to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Delegating content marketing for social media can be especially tricky with a freelancer if they are not familiar with the industry your business is in as it will be easier for them to miss the mark and possibly turn away prospective customers/clients if something slips through the cracks and they share something on behalf of your business that reveals the lack of their expert knowledge. This form of mistake is especially harmful because on the outside it will seem as though your business was responsible for sharing incorrect information rather than the freelancer you hired.
Finding trustworthy and qualified freelancers involves time and attention. It will require you to review portfolios, pitches, samples of their work and to request references from their previous clients. Since freelancers can come and go, if one becomes unavailable the vetting process will have to be done all over again.
Freelancers may be limited in terms of what they can and are willing to do. Freelance social media marketing managers can be experts in their field and will strictly resolve to not take on projects that fall outside their field of specialization. This may limit you in what you can assign them to do.
Option 2: Social Media Marketing Agency
Social media marketing agencies are businesses that are composed of a group of people who are experts each. in a certain field associated with online marketing. Social media marketing agencies can be big, medium or small businesses on their own. These businesses are typically full-service marketing agencies that can handle more projects/clients simultaneously than freelancers often can.
Social media marketing agencies generally provide everything that you will need to market your business online in one place. They typically have the necessary communication and collaboration tools in place already, all you need to do is to lay down your objectives and expectations, and then measure their output against your returns. Being a business with their own reputation, agencies are often more reliable and easier to hire. Some agencies will even work with you on an as needed basis, but without causing you the worry that they will be unavailable when you need them.
Social media marketing agencies staff themselves with professionals who are experts in their fields. These staffs are used to working with one another efficiently and have gained experience with working with businesses in different industries. While some agencies only except working with big or medium sized businesses, others specialize in working with small businesses. A fail-safe strategy to find the right agency is to look at the sizes and industries of the other businesses the social marketing agency represents.
Agencies also use specialized marketing tools, strategies and technology to manage, track and grow the digital presence of the businesses they take on. This can include integrated reporting software, social media analytics, SEO software, scheduling software, stock image sites, and digital designing software. Having the resources of an agency at your disposal can save you thousands by keeping your business from having to purchase these necessary resources for social media marketing.
Hiring an agency means hiring a team of professionals with varying expertise whom will do everything for you. This means the amount of oversight you wish to have is up to you. The beauty of outsourcing to an agency is that now everything is done for you and their reputation is staked on getting you great results and meeting deadlines.
Compared to freelancer’s, social media marketing agencies are typically more expensive. This is usually because you are hiring a team instead of just one person. Additionally, agencies will usually account for some of the tools and resources they are providing for you. Sometimes they will also include the cost of paid advertising on various social media platforms for your business, which may be way the cost is higher.
The way you do things may have to change if you’re hiring an agency to do your social media marketing for you. This is because they are their own business with their own procedures, and will have their own way of doing things. Hiring an agency also means that they will have influence over the way your business is portrayed online. They may want to change your look, host contests, or even ask to alter your branding so that it performs better digitally. If you hire a social media marketing agency your business will need to be prepared to work with theirs in union and respect their opinions.
When you hire a social media marketing agency one thing you may want to keep an eye on is that they are continually spending the same amount of time, effort and resources that they said they would provide marketing for your business. Since agencies are typically working with multiple businesses at once, you should ensure that your business does not get left in the dust.
Make sure the agency you hire cares about representing your business well and correctly. Give them the personalized details you don’t want your business to lose and check to make sure they are still being delivered after the agency has taken over. A good agency will understand what gives your business its special spark and will bolster it.
As more and more business discoveries and sales are happening online, the value of content marketing is continuing to increase. Having a successful social media presence is a key part of that, no matter what industry your business is in. If you and your staff are ill equipped with the expertise and resources to tackle social media marketing in-house, outsourcing may be the next step you need to take.
Consider your marketing budget, figure out your objectives, and decide on the amount of effort you are willing to put forth in order to find out if it’s a freelancer or social media marketing agency that will be the best option for your business. We hope the overview of both options above helps you in your investigation of bettering your business’ online marketing!
Is outsourcing to an agency the better option for you?
Maybe Empty Desk Solutions is your perfect match!
Contact us today, or learn more about our full-service social media marketing plans!
Brittany Hardy ⎜ Owner
Brittany Hardy is the Owner of Empty Desk Solutions, a boutique marketing company located in Port Moody B.C.
Brittany is passionate about helping small businesses achieve their growth goals with marketing solutions that are both effective and affordable.
After many years of working in retail management, Brittany went on to become the Marketing Manager for Dominion Lending, Canada’s largest mortgage company. Brittany then decided it was time to pursue a life-long goal of creating her own business. Inherently, Brittany likes to help people and decided there was no better way to do this than to use her creative talent to lift up others who want to do the same thing.
The mother of three young children, Brittany believes in balancing work and home life and continues to find new ways to support and employ other mothers who want to start their own businesses or stay at home with their children.
Social media marketing continues to evolve, and Brittany and her team are passionate about helping small businesses navigate how they can benefit from these networks.
Brittany has been a finalist for the Women of Worth awards, the Tri-Cities Business Excellence awards, and has most recently been featured in Small Business BC and the Huffington Post.